Italy 1-0 England: Problems ramp up for Gareth Southgate as Three Lions relegated from Nations League and World Cup approaches

Match report as Napoli's Giacomo Raspadori sinks England in Milan and relegates them from Group A3 to League B of the Nations League with one game still to play; Italy also hit the post twice as England's wait for open play goal stretches to five matches

England were relegated to League B of the Nations League with a worrying 1-0 defeat away to Italy which ramps up concerns about the prospects of Gareth Southgate's side two months out from the World Cup.

After an uninspiring first half where England's 3-4-3 system and Bukayo Saka's role at left wing-back didn't look right, they were undone on 68 minutes when Napoli's Giacomo Raspadori was allowed to bring down a long ball in the box and bend into the far corner after Kyle Walker stepped off.

Italy have been badly out of sorts since they beat England at Wembley last summer to win the Euros, failing to qualify for the World Cup, but they could have scored several more on Friday night. Gianluca Scamacca's header was tipped onto the bar by Nick Pope early on after the striker out-jumped under-pressure Harry Maguire, and Giovanni Di Lorenzo slid in to shoot against a post in the final minutes.

It wasn't just the Three Lions' well-documented problems in defence on show here, though. Five games into this Nations League campaign England are yet to score from open play, with a double save from Gianluigi Donnarumma to deny captain Harry Kane from a tight angle as close as they came in Milan.

Those chances came after Southgate belatedly switched to a back four but, from formation to personnel, the England boss appears to have plenty of questions to answer and dilemmas to solve if he is going to find a formula for this group to repeat or better their major tournament performances under him.

Nineteen-year-old Jude Bellingham may have impressed and Phil Foden fleetingly showed glimpses of his skill but the warning signs from four poor Nations League displays in June have now gone up a level with Qatar fast approaching. A response against Germany at Wembley on Monday is now essential.

What's next?

England host Germany at Wembley on Monday at 7.45pm in their final Nations League game of their Group A3 campaign. It will also be the Three Lions' last competitive match before this winter's World Cup.

Gareth Southgate is expected to name his 26-man squad for Qatar 2022 on October 20, which will be well before FIFA's deadline of Sunday November 13.

England face Iran in their opening World Cup group game on November 21 at the Khalifa International Stadium, Doha.

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